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Thursday, January 16, 2003

A Gallup Poll based on the responses of 30,000 people has just been released in advance of the World Economic Forum due to open in Switzerland next week.

The following results were found:

"Around the world, the principal democratic institution in each country (i.e., parliament, congress, etc.) is the least trusted of the 17 institutions tested, including global companies.

Two thirds of those surveyed worldwide disagree that their country is "governed by the will of the people."

Citizens have as much trust in the media and in trade unions as they have in their national (mostly elected) governments.

Perhaps because of the security/anti-terrorism role currently played by the armed forces, they are the most trusted institution of those tested.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including environmental + social advocacy groups enjoy the second highest trust ratings in the survey.

Citizens also express relatively high levels of trust in the United Nations, even in America, putting the UN at the same high level as religious groups and churches.

Global companies and large domestic companies are equally distrusted to operate in the best interest of society, ranking next to national legislative bodies at the bottom of the trust ratings.

The World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have almost as many people distrusting them as trusting them to operate in society's best interests."

See here for a full summary of the poll.

Bill Gates has also said that "It's a healthy thing there are demonstrators in the streets. We need a discussion about whether the rich world is giving back what it should in the developing world. I think there is a legitimate question whether we are."